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Hilary Knight Is Pro Hockey's Next Big Thing, You Just Don't Know It Yet


Hilary Knight, 26, was recently dubbed the "Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey," and while comparisons to The Great One rarely imply anything but the highest of compliments, that accolade is more complicated for Knight than it might be for an NHL sensation.

Knight is a US Olympian, world champion and collegiate champion, and she's the face of the National Women's Hockey League, the first pay-for-play women's hockey league, both on and off the ice.

So, does Knight want to be known as the Gretzky of the women's game or just one of the premier hockey players of our time? She told Elite Daily,

Hockey players are known to be stoic, straight-talking individuals, so I wasn't surprised to get such a PC answer from Knight, but after a little more conversation, it became apparent this hockey phenom isn't like any who has laced up a pair of skates before her.

A Palo Alto, California native, Hilary Knight currently finds herself in New England, playing for the NWHL's Boston Pride and fielding daily questions about what it means to be a hockey player, role model and torch-barer for female athletes everywhere.

She told Elite Daily,

Still, hockey is hockey, no matter who's skating up and down the ice. First and foremost, Knight is a hockey player, and she's a steadfast student of the sport. She told Elite Daily,

Having to promote your own product is something all NWHL players have to do in order to help ensure the long-term success of the league -- such is life in a developing women's professional sports league -- but the burden which falls on Knight is far heavier than the weight on any of her colleague's shoulders.

Being the best, no matter what job you hold in life, comes with added responsibilities, pressure and attention. If the 26-year-old has a bad game or doesn't act like a mature veteran every night, she will undoubtedly fall under the microscope more than any other player.

Again, though, Knight refuses to use the pressure as an excuse to be anything less than who she was raised to be. She told Elite Daily,

Being that March is Women's History Month, I thought it important to ask Knight about her female role models growing up, as well as what this special month means to her. She told Elite Daily,

Knight isn't naive about her responsibility to future generations of female athletes. However, she appears to see it more as an opportunity than as a responsibility. Knight told Elite Daily,

The captain of the Boston Pride leads the NWHL in points (33), goals (15) and assists (18), and while she's more than happy to talk about being featured in ESPN's Body Issue, progressing women's sports, listening to Drake and chowing down on Margherita pizza, at the end of the day, she's a competitor who cares above all about winning.

She's about to lead her first-place team into the NWHL playoffs, where her focus will be solely on trying to win another championship for a city that prides itself on trophies.

Knight told Elite Daily,

From one of the world's best hockey players, who would expect anything less?